WASHINGTON — The first person to serve on the Supreme Court on Tuesday reviewed a conservative attempt to undermine a landmark 1965 voting rights law to protect minority voters. Black women provided a history lesson on racial division issues. America.
Just two days after sitting on the bench, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks out on the enactment of the 14th Amendment, whose purpose is to remedy the historic harm done to blacks in the aftermath of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It was an iconic moment in a courtroom where only three black judges have ever sat.
“The point of the fix was to secure the rights of freed former slaves,” Jackson said, exploring the history behind the controversy over the Alabama legislative district map. As a result, she wondered. How can we ban states from considering race to determine if they need to elect more black districts?
Her intervention during oral argument in the defense of Alabama’s map, which the lower courts said discriminated against black voters, was just one example of Jackson’s active role in her early years on the Superior Court. It’s not too much.
New judges sometimes hesitate in their first few arguments before they settle down, but the last three appointees before Jackson — conservatives Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — All of them asked questions at the first oral argument.
Sherilyn Ifil, a prominent civil rights attorney, told NBC News, “I’m pleased that Judge Jackson has not hesitated to join the fight. “Her tone is playful and respectful, but she is tough, no nonsense, and not harsh. It was a great debut.”
Jackson spoke out early Monday in the first lawsuit of the court’s new term examining the extent of federal authority over wetlands. was the second judge.
“Let me bring some enlightenment to it,” she said at one point when surveying lawyers about the arcane language of the Clean Water Act.
According to Adam Feldman, who tracks courtroom statistics on the website Empirical SCOTUS, Jackson was the third-loudest judge in the Wetlands case, but was out of nine judges in Monday’s second hearing. spoke most in
On both days, Jackson was polite to her lawyers but insistent on following up when their responses weren’t to her liking.
“Excuse me, can I help you for a moment?” she said Tuesday while cutting off an Alabama attorney.
Her way of asking questions in the voting rights case, which the court will decide by the end of June, also seemed to align with fellow liberal justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. In lawsuits that attracted , Sotomayor, the first Latino in court, was often the judge who spoke most forcefully about how the ruling affects the daily lives of minorities.
Supreme Court debates can be a lively matter, and cases on hot-button issues often reveal ideological divisions on the bench, with conservatives holding a 6-to-3 majority. As such, it is often referred to as a “hot bench” by lawyers.
Franita Tolson, an election law expert at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, said Jackson has already shown a willingness to ask tough questions.
“Even if she is likely to lose a 6-3 or 5-4 vote, she recognizes the importance of setting the record straight, so she is a powerful voice in the liberal bloc of courts.” I think it will